In the first preseason game of the season, Montreal’s shiny new toy went out and got himself suspended. Max Domi, a 12thoverall pick by the Arizona Coyotes back in 2013, was traded to the Canadians for Alex Galchenyuk in the offseason and was supposed to represent the new age of the Canadians as they move forward into a rebuild.
Well, that was supposed to case until he sucker punched Aaron Ekbald this week.
The incident is pretty brutal and rather unprecedented, sending a strong right hand into the jaw of a player who clearly wants no business fighting. I know the NHL has the stereotype of UFC on Ice, but that’s not even close to being true, especially in 2018. So, it seemed obvious that a pretty hefty suspension was coming down the pipe for Domi. But alas, this is the NHL, the Micky Mouse of sports leagues, where up is down and down is left.
Max Domi will not play for the remainder of the NHL preseason, but will not be punished for any regular season games. Makes sense. Suspend a player for a blatant attempt to injure another player (arguably a star player) and only punish him for games that don’t count. Games in which likely meant very little to him or the organization beyond ‘prep’ work.
The NHL has essentially not punished the player. Domi is still going to make the opening day roster, he is going to be an every night guy for the Habs. Being suspended for the preseason is not a punishment as much as it is a 3-week break. At the very worst, the Canadians will not be able to text him out at Centre as they hope he can make the move from the wing. What Max Domi did potentially could have had serious injury impact to Ekbald, put him out weeks, even months. Ekbald was removed and put through the concussion protocol and passed, that does not take away from the severity of the action Domi did.
The league completely missed the mark on this suspension. A non-hockey play resulting in the player being removed injured should have at least be a 1 game suspension for meaningful games.
Max Domi will be making his return to the Ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs October 3rd for the Canadians season opener.